A Fight For Credit In The Marriage Equality Movement

WASHINGTON — Few moments in the marriage equality movement have provoked more controversy than the 2009 decision of Chad Griffin to fight California’s Proposition 8 in federal court — and to enlist Ted Olson, a key official of the George W. Bush administration, to do so.

Now that the legal bill behind that legal effort has been revealed to be more than $6 million, some are asking questions about the steep fee for the lawyers in the Prop 8 case — especially as a slate of new marriage cases advance through the courts and lawyers jockey for position to argue the one that they expect will ultimately deliver marriage equality to all 50 states.

The debate over the Prop 8 price tag is just one part of a much larger battle within the legal world of LGBT rights: the fight for credit.

Since Griffin, now the head of the Human Rights Campaign, made the decision to go up against Prop 8 five years ago, the landscape for marriage equality has changed dramatically. Griffin, the campaign he put together — the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) — and the lawyers he recruited — Olson and David Boies — are in the midst of a public relations campaign to claim a big slice of the credit for that change. While the fight for credit continues, especially with the forthcoming publication of Jo Becker’s book looking at the past five years of the marriage fight, the questions about the costs of the case have percolated under the surface.

Full story

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The 67 Louisiana Lawmakers Who Just Voted That Gay Sex Should Be Illegal

I’m equally suprised and disheartened by this. Why are so many lawmakers hell bent on ignoring the Constitution unless it benefits them? And a HUGE thank you to the 11 who didn’t vote. I’m sure you love that fence you sit on.

The Louisiana House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly against a bill that would strike down the state’s longstanding statutory ban on sodomy on Tuesday — with 67 members voting to keep anti-sodomy provisions in the law, 27 voting to remove them, and 11 not voting.

The bill would have amended the state’s “crimes against nature” statute, in part, to remove language banning sodomy between people of both the same sex and opposite sex because it was found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 and cannot be enforced by state or local officials. In the case, Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court found that such laws violate the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Full story (with list of 67 lawmakers)

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Indian Supreme Court Recognizes Broad Rights For Transgender People

Wow! I’m just astonished by this. I mean didn’t they just recently overturn something to help homosexuals? I don’t quite understand, but I guess it’s a good thing for transgender people.

A two-judge panel of the Supreme Court of India ruled on Tuesday that the country’s constitution and international human rights law demand that the state recognize an individual’s self-identified gender and take steps to address discrimination and harassment of transgender people.

“We…hold that values of privacy, self-identity, autonomy and personal integrity are fundamental rights guaranteed to members of the transgender community … and the State is bound to protect and recognize those rights,” wrote Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan. In a concurring decision, the other judge on the panel, A.K. Sikri, wrote, “If democracy is based on the recognition of the individuality and dignity of man, as a fortiori we have to recognize the right of a human being to choose his sex/gender identity which is integral his/her personality and is one of the most basic aspect of self- determination dignity and freedom.”

Full story

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Lesbian couple make history with first same-sex church wedding

I hope these lovely ladies have many many happy years together. I am familiar with the Metropolitan Community Church and find them to be a good group of people.

Two lesbian Christians from Bournemouth have become the first same-sex couple to have a church wedding in the UK.

Jan Tipper and Barb Burden chose not to enter a civil partnership because they wanted to tie the knot “before God” in front of their “church, friends and family”.

The couple, who have been together for 19 years, were married at the Metropolitan Community Church in Bournemouth on Saturday in a service conducted by their pastor, the Reverend Dwayne Morgan, who officiated as a registrar.

Full story

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Vladimir Putin’s LGBT Refuseniks

We are still in our own struggle for LGBT rights, but I guess we are farther along than Russia.

On June 16, 1961, the Soviet ballet star Rudolf Nureyev slipped away from his KGB minders while on tour in Paris, and within a week, he was doing his jetés and echappés in The Sleeping Beauty with a French company. Ten years later, 13,000 Jewish refugees left the Soviet Union; over the next three decades, the U.S. accepted hundreds of thousands. In 1979, when Bolshoi dancers Valentina Kozlova and Leonid Kozlov ducked out the garage door of the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the U.S. granted them asylum the next day.

Today it’s not ballerinas and Jews fleeing Russia in droves, but a new group of Putin-era refuseniks: LGBT people. Facing a discriminatory new law against “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” and a spike in homophobic violence, many see getting out of Russia as a matter of life and death.

Slava Revin, a 31-year-old activist who arrived in the U.S. in July, is part of a fast-growing community of young LGBT Russians who’ve flocked to New York, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. cities. Like the Soviet Jews and dissidents who fled decades before them, Revin and his peers have formed a tight network, helping one another adjust to life in America and advocating for the rights of those left behind.

Full story

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Can This One-Woman Show Turn Your Kids Into Lesbians?

Considering there are many conservatives take the bible literally, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that they take everything literally. Unbelievable, really.

Some South Carolina state senators just don’t get satire, especially when it’s about the LGBT experience.

When Leigh Hendrix was booked earlier this year by the University of South Carolina Upstate to perform her one-woman show on campus, she didn’t know she would become the center of a controversy about gay “indoctrination.”

Hendrix’s comedic piece, “How To Be A Lesbian In 10 Days Or Less,” was set to be presented during the school’s Bodies Of Knowledge symposium, scheduled for April 10-11.

But that was before a few conservative politicians got wind of it.

“That’s not an explanation of ‘I was born this way.’ It’s recruiting,” state Sen. Mike Fair, a Republican representing Greenville, told local NBC affiliate WYFF.

Hendrix, a South Carolina native who now lives in New York, learned last Wednesday that the administration had decided to cancel her performance due to immense pressure from Fair and others, who seemed to take her tongue-in-cheek title literally.

Full story

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Who’s Afraid Of The Gay Mafia?

Yes! We are terrorists!!!

“I think there is a gay mafia,” said Bill Maher on Friday during an online segment of his HBO show Real Time. The topic at hand was the resignation of Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, in response to the renewed controversy over a $1,000 donation he made in support of California’s Prop 8 in 2008. “I think if you cross them, you do get whacked. You really do,” Maher added during a segment with five presumably straight guests, each of them laughing and nodding in agreement.

I’d laugh, or at least chuckle along, if I wasn’t too busy cataloguing the frequency with which the notion of a powerful, shadowy gay conspiracy has come up lately in public conversations. The same day Glenn Beck ranted during his radio broadcast that LGBT activists are “becoming a terrorist organization” that just wants to “keep everyone in fear.”

Full story

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